Faced with the reality of climate change effects that have seen crop yields and livestock production reduced significantly, leaving many families with increased cases of malnutrition, farmers in Makueni County, covering the arid and semiarid parts of Kenya, are embracing climate-smart agricultural practices to improve their harvests.

Farmers invest in smart agriculture to fight climate change

The smart agricultural practices and innovations are geared toward water harvesting, soil conservation and deep tillage with minimum soil disturbance. The practices include planting drought-tolerant crops, adopting agro-forestry, using agriculturally certified seeds and constructing terraces.

Farmers have also organized themselves into village-based self-help groups, under a Poverty Alleviation Resource Center.

In each group, farmers usually gather on a farm of one of their members or in a demonstration field, where they are trained to replicate the sustainable practices on their own plots.

The farmers are trained on new, innovative farming methods, improved seed varieties, agro-nutrition and value-added measures, in which they are able to come up with different types of green approaches and solutions.

The local farmers who use the new methods of farming have confirmed that their yields have improved significantly, reaping harvests even during minimal rainfall. They also expressed strong commitment to practice viable methods during the upcoming rainy season and were optimistic that their yields will continue to improve.

Farmers of the Aimi me Bidii Self Help Group gather under an acacia tree in Makongeni village before a training session
Farmers of the Aimi me Bidii Self Help Group gather under an acacia tree in Makongeni village before a training session

Through the training, many farmers who had questions about dealing with reduced yields and severe drought learned about the current climate change crisis as well as their expected roles in adapting to the latest challenges.

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Farmers of the Aimi me Bidii Self Help Group practice digging zai pits, a dryland farming technique that helps maintain soil and water resources via holes or troughs, at a demonstration farm in Makongeni village
Farmers of the Aimi me Bidii Self Help Group practice digging zai pits, a dryland farming technique that helps maintain soil and water resources via holes or troughs, at a demonstration farm in Makongeni village

By EDITH MUTETHYA in Makueni, Kenya

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